A Statement from the Qualcomm Institute Director on Racial and Social Injustice

Dear Colleagues,

I want to acknowledge the fear, shock and deep sadness that our community is feeling as a result of the killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and so many others who are the victims of the systemic racism that has long plagued our society. QI stands in support of our Black students, colleagues, friends and people of color now and always. It has been a sobering journey to witness the systematic destruction of basic human values that underpin the communities we live and work in. Throughout history, places of learning have nurtured the spark of creativity and innovation latent in every one of us. What better place to gather and confront the menace of institutionalized discrimination and criminal victimization of people of color.

The consistent call for compassion from the campus and senate leadership hearkens back to the Dalai Lama’s visit. As I learned from his talks, at the heart of compassion is a call to action, not to promote one’s own self-interest but to act on behalf of others whose stories, experiences and struggles we learn to embrace as our own. I see compassion in action all around the nation, especially when the younger generation puts itself in harm’s way to rally for a cause more precious than their own self-interest.

Twenty years ago, before cell phones could transmit data or record video, Calit2 embraced the importance of the societal impact of technology. Today's technology made it possible for Darnella Frazier to share with the world the gratuitous and horrifying killing of George Floyd even as other technologies are being grotesquely exploited to foment civil strife. As I look to the future, with hope and optimism inspired by the acts of civil disobedience unfolding around the country, I wonder if we have a unique role to play to anticipate and forestall societal abuse of technology.

Please join the entire UC community and the nation in a minute of silence and reflection at 11 a.m. today in honor of the memory of George Floyd and all who have suffered because of the racism and inequality so prevalent in our society. George Floyd’s memorial service in Minneapolis commences at this time. 

Now more than ever, we need to make the time to engage with each other and with those that have long been marginalized for our own personal and professional growth. Now more than ever, we need to draw on the diversity of our own life experiences to help us discern between right and wrong. I also ask you to support one another during these challenging times. Please do not hesitate to reach out directly to me with your concerns, or with ideas for how the QI community can bring its talents and unique perspectives to drive meaningful change.

Ramesh Rao, Director
Qualcomm Institute at UC San Diego